Final member of large drug bust sentenced

Police, prosecutors target Springfield suppliers.

The third and final man charged in large-scale drug bust earlier this year in Springfield was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison.

Leroy Lewis III, 31, pleaded guilty earlier this week to a first-degree felony cocaine charge in connection with the drug operation.

Lewis will spend 11 years in prison and then spend five years on post-release control. His driver’s license will also be suspended for five years.

Lewis told Common Pleas Judge Douglas Rastatter the sentence was too long because he was a good person and had a family.

“I feel like I do deserve some time, but this is too much,” Lewis said.

“Hopefully people like him who think they are moving small amounts of cocaine realize they are facing a long time in prison,” Clark County assistant prosecutor Andrew Picek said.

On Monday, Lewis pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in an amount exceeding 100 grams. At the time of his arrest, Springfield police’s narcotics squad located 246.97 grams of cocaine in the trunk of Lewis’s 1996 Jaguar parked outside a property on Eaton Avenue.

Previously, Lewis had rejected all plea offers from the prosecution. Only after his co-defendant, 41-year-old Pedro Arriaga-Reyes, accepted a similar agreement last week to serve 13 years in prison did Lewis agree to a deal. He faced the possibility of more than 40 years in prison as part of the 13-count indictment.

Picek said a bust at this level of suppliers should help the county’s fight against drugs.

“Obviously we will go after anybody, but the street-level dealers are much more easily replaced than somebody at the level of these individuals in this case,” he said.

Springfield police had been investigating the drug operation since September 2012. Arriaga-Reyes supplied a kilo of cocaine at a time to Lewis and another man, Ebonyuwezo Jones, police said. Jones was also indicted as part of the case in August, but he was shot and killed hours after his arraignment.

The prosecutor said the county is working to target the higher level suppliers.

“There are people the level of these individuals present here in the county, and they are our primary level that we want to target to disrupt the supply,” Picek said.

As part of the plea agreement, Lewis will have to forfeit any property seized as part of the case. Officers confiscated seven firearms, five vehicles and more than $50,000 in cash during their investigation.

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